How does it feel to be runner-up on MasterChef?
There were a lot of tears. It’s quite bizarre watching yourself cry on tv whilst you cry in real life.
It was emotional and it was hard because it brings a finality with Jock and so much hard work went into it.
It was very emotional because it was like this is it, this is the end.
What was the most challenging moment you faced during the competition and how did you overcome it?
[The pocket watch] was so hard, it was beyond hard.
As soon as I saw Amaury walk in I was like ‘Oh my goodness. I don’t know what’s going to be under that closh but I know it’s not going to be great.' I just knew it was going to be ridiculously hard.
The pocket watch was really, really tough. It was also one of those things where the more you go through the cook, you hit a real wall around the three-hour mark and there’s just so much to do. Just keep moving, that was all I was thinking.
Honestly, 'I was thinking I can’t do this, I can’t get this done'. I felt really overwhelmed at that moment and I’m thinking, 'I’ve got my family up there' but Jock snapped me out of it. And he knew what to do to snap me out of it. And then I was like 'I can do this' and 'I’ve just got to keep moving' and even watching it last night it was very emotional because he knew exactly what to say to me to get me out of that headspace.
Can you share some highlights from your MasterChef journey?
I think the whole season was a highlight, but something that really stood out to me was Maggie Beer.
When she came into the kitchen, it was very emotional for me, I felt like I had my mum and my aunties all in one person standing in front of me.
They’ve all passed away from cancer, and we grew up with my mum and my aunties laughing and cooking in the kitchen and just having such a fun time, and it just felt like they were all there with me in Maggie Beer. So that was just super emotional.
What was the biggest lesson or skill you learned during your time on MasterChef?
Balancing flavours was probably the biggest skill I learned and that was all thanks to Jock.
He wanted us to always think about how to get five different flavours into every dish and it was life-changing for me.
I’m definitely not the greatest at presenting dishes under pressure but I can sure bring the flavour!
Everything I cook now all I’m thinking about is getting everything balanced.
Are you still in touch with any of your fellow MasterChef contestants?
I haven't caught up with Cath since the show because I'm in Townsville and she's in Melbourne, but I am catching up with Declan and Antonio in September when I'm down in Sydney. I also caught up with Rue and Ralph when I was in Perth.
But all the contestants, without a doubt we will all be mates for life, all of us.
What's next for you? Any exciting plans for the future? And how do you plan on spending your prize money?
I went on the show thinking that I wanted to open a restaurant in Townsville but now I really want to travel around Australia, promote local fresh produce, and local farmers, cook from farmers' markets, and maybe open a restaurant after that.
I want to use the money to travel around Australia and maybe do a TV show. I’d love to do that, I actually really enjoyed being in front of the cameras.